Encouraging your teenage boy to consume a healthy diet will optimize his growth and development. According to American Academy of Pediatrics on its Healthy Children website, up to 30 percent of adolescent children don’t eat breakfast, which can decrease concentration at school and inhibit a teen’s athletic performance. Nutrition requirements for teenage males depend on age, activity level and calorie needs.
The more active your teenager is, the more calories he needs to maintain a healthy weight. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, teenage boys ages 13 to 18 need 2,000 to 2,400 calories if they are sedentary, 2,200 to 2,800 calories if they are moderately active and 2,600 to 3,200 calories per day if they are active. Teen athletes who engage in strenuous training regimens may require up to 5,000 calories per day, according to TeensHealth.
The Institute of Medicine encourages boys ages 9 to 13 to eat at least 34 grams of protein every day and boys ages 14 to 18 to consume at least 52 grams. Some teens may require additional protein, especially during times of rapid growth and intense physical activity. A 2008 edition of “Today’s Dietitian” reports that young athletes may require up to 0.68 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. Therefore, a 150-pound teenage male athlete may need to eat 102 grams of protein each day. High-protein foods include meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, soy products, legumes, nuts and seeds.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that teenage boys consume at least 130 grams of carbohydrates each day and that 45 to 65 percent of their total calories come from carbs. So, teen boys should get 225 to 325 grams of carbs as part of a 2,000-calorie diet, 293 to 423 grams for a 2,600-calorie diet and 360 to 520 grams of carbs per day if they are eating a 3,200-calorie diet. According to “Today’s Dietitian,” young athletes generally need 1.36 to 4.1 grams of carbs per pound of body weight each day. Based on these recommendations, a 150-pound teen athlete needs 204 to 615 grams of carbs per day, depending on the intensity of his training program. Healthy carbs for teens include fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains such as whole-grain pasta and brown rice, milk and yogurt. Seeds and nuts contain small amounts of carbs.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that teenage boys ages 13 to 18 consume 25 to 35 percent of their total calories from fats. This is equivalent to eating 56 to 78 grams of fat for a 2,000-calorie diet, 72 to 101 grams for a 2,600-calorie intake and 89 to 124 grams of fat per day when consuming a 3,200-calorie diet. Healthy fats for teens include olive, canola, walnut and flaxseed oils, purified fish oils, avocados, olives, peanut butter, nuts and seeds.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin and mineral requirements for teen boys vary by age; the Institute of Medicine is a good reference for individualized micronutrient needs. In addition to encouraging your teenager to consume a well-balanced diet, talk with your child’s health care provider about offering him a multivitamin supplement to ensure that his micronutrient needs are met.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.